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Simple cauliflower salad

July 3, 2011

My flatmates and I feel quite alone in the world when it comes to our cauliflower dedication. If you don’t count mushrooms, they are probably my favourite vegetable, but often make it on “most hated vegetable” lists. I will quite happily eat cauliflower on its own, seared in the pan and lightly salted. However, it also works fantastically with a lot of my favourite flavour directions: lemon, cumin/spices, herbs, mustard, cheese, garlic. Or a combination of a few, like so:

This basic salad is a simplified version of an Ottolenghi recipe – it looks and probably tastes very different from the original (which includes cherry tomatoes and dill). What I love is that it still tastes great with my various switches and omissions – so go ahead and make it your own, and let me know if you stumble across something really noteworthy.

Seared cauliflower salad

Serves 2


  • 1 Tbs capers, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
  • ½ Tbs wholegrain mustard (I used smokehouse)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs cider or white wine vinegar (I used the latter)
  • Optional: juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (twice as much as there is liquid)


  • Around 250g cauliflower florets (1 small cauli’s worth)
  • Large handful of washed baby spinach leaves or mild mesclun mix (I used miner’s lettuce from the garden)

Mix dressing ingredients together – I used a pestle and mortar for this, which worked quite well. Whisk until thickened, set aside.

Bring a few mm of water in a medium large frypan to the boil. Add cauliflower, cover. Steam for three minutes on medium heat, ensuring the pan doesn’t dry out. Uncover, turn the heat up to high, and let the pan mostly dry out, then add a splash of oil and stir to coat the cauliflower. Let sizzle away until the bottoms are brown, then stir and let brown again.

Throw the cauliflower on top of the leafy bits and drizzle over dressing, then mix it up and taste. Season further if necessary, then serve.

Currently Clickalicious

Eggplant pomegranate relish @ My Communal Table

Cod wrapped in crispy potatoes with dill and caper sauce @ Closet Cooking

Focaccia Bread @ Pease Pudding (PS. BEST focaccia I’ve ever eaten! So easy too)

Miso glazed grilled tofu @ Katherine Martinelli

Basil ice cream @ Milliemirepoix

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2011 9:58 pm

    I love cauliflower in a salad with vinegar, I think that when I was a kid I only liked it this way, and rarely ate it hot. Most people who don’t like cauliflower will probably love it prepared this way, as it taste so different :-).

    Ma favourite is with just olive oil, salt and a drop of real traditional balsamic vinegar ;-)

  2. peasepudding permalink
    July 4, 2011 9:09 pm

    A perfect warm salad. I used to make a similar one from Jamie Oliver and you have just reminded me how much I loved the combination of warm cauliflower with capers, herbs and citrus.

  3. July 5, 2011 6:21 pm

    I love your salad that browning bits in that cauliflower definitely give this salad a boost in flavour.

  4. July 5, 2011 7:08 pm

    A: Hopefully cauliflower haters can be converted…they really are missing out in my opinion!

    P: The capers felt like a bit of a gamble, but they ended up working quite well. I’ve done a caperless version and it still tastes good too.

    R: It’s pretty much the only way I cook cauliflower now :) The only time I’ve boiled cauliflower is when I made Ottolenghi’s cauliflower patties.

  5. Bunny Eats Design permalink
    July 6, 2011 4:44 pm

    You are definitely not alone in your love of cauliflower. I love the brown bits though I usually roast my cauliflower to that effect. Yum. I wonder if taking roasted or pan fried cauliflower to pot luck dinners would make me enemies or friends?

  6. July 6, 2011 5:57 pm

    B: Haha, hard to say, depends on how open minded the potluck diners were I think.

  7. July 7, 2011 3:16 am

    Zo! This blog looks great! You’ve given me a long list (already) of recipes to dig into. Thanks!

  8. July 7, 2011 8:33 am

    LJ: Heheh, cheers :)

  9. July 10, 2011 4:47 pm

    This salad looks amazing!
    I love cauliflowers in all possible forms.. grilled, cooked, spiced, with spices like cilantro, fennel, nigella seeds,… in just about anything!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog!

  10. July 30, 2011 3:04 pm

    Cauliflower is such a great and flexible vegetable. This looks great!

  11. July 30, 2011 6:18 pm

    R: I must try it with fennel seeds some time, sounds intriguing.

    J: Thanks! Much of the credit to the humble yet fantastic vegetable.

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